Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese

 So a lot has happened since we last spoke.

I graduated from my dietetic internship.

I visited California for the first time! Hello SF, redwood trees and Lake Tahoe!!

I had a near heart attack on all four of my flights.

I got stung by a jelly fish for the first time. (Wasn't as bad as I thought, but still OUCHIES!)

I've continued developing my pie business.

And finally I PASSED THE RD EXAM!!

Anyone who has taken this exam (or any liscensing exam for that matter) knows how nerve wracking it is. All your years of school and professional practice come down to this. If you don't pass this little 125 question exam you're stuck until you can take it again.

I thought I was going to throw up while I was taking it. The questions were so weird! I kept a tally of questions I thought I had answered wrong and felt my stomach drop to my toes when the tally reached 45. When I reached the end of the exam IT DIDN'T TELL ME MY SCORE! I had to wait for the proctor to yakity yak for 10 minutes until she finally told me I passed.

Thank. The. Lord.

For the past three weeks my life has only been studying. Now that I have a lot more extra time, I can get back in the kitchen and share wonderful recipes with you.

To start off I thought I would keep things simple. Take a look in your fridge and choose any three vegetables you have. I just happened to have eggplant, zucchini and carrots, but I think any vegetable would work in this recipe.

The steps are easy and I think you all can handle it. Fingers crossed anyways :D

1. Cut vegetables into bite sized pieces. Put in dish.

2. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a little mustard and salt and pepper.

3. Pour over vegetables and roast in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. (20 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered)

Then all that's left is to cook some pasta and sprinkle with goat cheese. It's nothing flashy or fancy, but it's the perfect dinner if you're looking for something simple and can't stomach another frozen burrito or boxed macaroni and cheese.

If you have other ideas for quick weeknight dinners, I'd love to hear them!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese 
HTIC Original

1 large eggplant, diced
4 small zucchini, diced
3 carrots, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. brown mustard
1 t. salt and pepper (or other spice blend)
To Serve: 2/3-1 cup cooked pasta, 2 T. crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place chopped vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish.
3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown mustard and spices. Pour over vegetables. Toss gently with well washed hands or spoon.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil for final 20 minutes.
5. To serve combine 1/2-1 cup vegetables with pasta and top with goat cheese. Marvel at how easy this tasty dinner was and enjoy!

What I'm Listening to Today (Apparently I'm in a Henley sort of mood)
All She Wants to Do is Dance
The End of Innocence
New York Minute

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strawberry Mint Fresca

"Adrienne, you've got some 'splainin to do."

"Who me??"

"Where have you been for the past three months?!"


I wish I could say my excuse is impressive like I was an interim secret service agent, won a load of money on Jeopardy or took a vacation to tropical island. The truth is much less glamorous than that, as it usually is.

I got busy.

Plain and simple. It's tough to juggle a blog, internship, a young business and social life at the same time. So I let a ball drop. But now I've decided to pick it back up again.

That's what she--

Ahem. Anyways...

To welcome you back to HTIC I decided to make the downright most refreshing beverage I have tasted in my life. I have to give credit to Blue Oven Bread and their fantastic food truck because introduced me to this glorious pink nectar.

When I say fresca, I am in no way talking about that abhorrent soft drink made by Coke. Bleck. I'm referring to agua frescas, or "fresh waters" which are popular drinks in Spanish speaking countries. They usually consist of water and fruit and can be lightly sweetened.

Blue Oven Bread makes a strawberry fresca with honey and mint, so I figured why not fix what ain't broke. Plus I had a particularly unruly peppermint plant on my windowsill which was in need of serious trim.

Frescas are a cinch to make. My only word of advice is to use a strainer that has slightly larger holes than a fine mesh version. That's all I had on hand and it made separating the strawberry juice from the puree pretty tough. Other than that if you have a large vessel and something to stir it with you're in business.

The great thing about frescas is you can  customize it depending on your taste. Just with strawberries alone you could make a basil, lime, lemon, thyme or cilantro version. Strawberries aren't your thing? Any fruit you can easily puree can be used instead such as blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, oranges, grapes...if you don't have time to puree take a shortcut and use 100% juice instead!

Let me know what flavors of frescas you're drinking this summer to keep you cool. Goodness knows I'll need a gallon of this version to get me through this 90+ degree week :D

Strawberry Mint Fresca 
HTIC Original, inspired by Blue Oven Bread

1 lb. strawberries, hulled
3 cups water
4 T. honey
1/4 cup mint leaves (more or less depending on your taste)

1. In a blender, blend the strawberries into a puree.
2. Add water to pitcher or large jar.
3. Run puree through a strainer into a separate container to remove seeds and pulp from strawberry puree.
4. Pour juice from puree into water. Add honey and mint leaves. Stir to combine.
5. Refrigerate until cool and/or serve over ice. Wipe that sweat from your brow and enjoy!

What I'm Listening to Today
Safe and Sound: Capitol Cities-->so poppy, but so catchy!
Counting Stars: OneRepublic
Burning Down the House: Talking Heads 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spicy Tempeh Reubens

My ancestors came from Germany so it's no surprise I have a soft spot for sauerkraut. Sure it smells a little funny and it sure is pungent, but there's nothing else quite like it.

Throw a little on corned beef, cover it with swiss cheese and thousand island dressing on rye bread and you have one of the best sandwiches around, the Reuben.

Since turning veg over three years ago I have not been meeting my yearly Reuben quota. Not even close! The number of vegetarian Reubens is the Cincinnati area is nearly non existent unless you happen to be at Melt. If you are, get The Rachel with seitan and some extra dressing on the side. It's definitely a winner.

If you're not around Melt I have a twist on the classic Reuben that might meet your craving. And when I say twist I mean its hard to even recognize this sandwich as a Reuben. But all the components are there.

"Meat": pan seared tempeh
Sauerkraut: quick pickled shredded Brussels sprouts
Cheese: pepper jack
Sauce: barbeque
Bread: ten grain

It's definitely funky but good 70's style disco type of funky that makes you want to dance with sandwich in hand. The sandwich comes together within 15 minutes and its a perfect weeknight dinner to serve alongside some steamed vegetables, potato chips or fruit. If tempeh isn't your style feel free to substitute chicken, sliced turkey or pork roast.

Have any other stellar Reuben variations you think I should know about? Please feel free to share!

Spicy Tempeh Reubens 
HTIC Original

1/3 block tempeh
1/8 t. all purpose seasoning
1 cup shredded Brussels sprouts
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 slice pepper jack cheese
1 T. barbeque sauce
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted

1. In a medium skillet heat 1 t. olive oil over medium high heat. Cut tempeh into thin strips. Add to pan. Cook tempeh on each side for 5-7 minutes or until browned.
2. While tempeh cooks heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add a touch of oil and Brussels sprouts. Stir and cook until Brussels sprouts have started to brown slightly. Remove from heat and stir vinegar into Brussels sprouts.
3. Remove tempeh from heat and arrange slices into a stack roughly the size of your bread. Top with Brussels sprouts and slice of cheese. Cover pan with lid and allow the cheese to melt.
4. Spread barbeque sauce on one side of toasted bread. Using a spatula transfer tempeh, Brussels sprouts and cheese stack to other slice of bread. Place two slices of bread together and cut in half.
5. Add more barbeque if you life and enjoy!

What I'm Listening to Today
Flesh and Bone: The Killers
Runaways: The Killers
The Way It Was: The Killers 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baby Kale and Tempeh Quesadillas

Well I couldn't even last the week without using my OXO Fold and Flip Omelet Turner again. No I'm not getting paid to gush about this product, it's just that darn amazing.

I find it truly shocking that I don't have a single recipe for quesadillas on this little blog. Who doesn't love a quesadilla? Cheese + tortilla = muy delicioso.

Hmmm, that high school Spanish really stuck with me...not.

Usually quesadillas are a nutritional nightmare, a heavily buttered flour tortilla stuffed to the brim with cheese with a sprinkle of vegetables or chicken if you're lucky. CHOO CHOO ALL ABOARD THE SATURATED FAT EXPRESS! NEXT STOP HEART ATTACK!

Okay, so that's a bit of an overkill but normal quesadillas are really something you don't want to eat every day. But when it comes to healthy eating I think the most effective strategy is to continue eating the foods you like, but in reasonable portions.

For example instead of mega 12" flour tortillas like they use at Chipotle, how about we use 6" corn tortillas instead? The calorie difference between the two is a bit shocking

Granted a lot of this difference is size, but even when the tortillas are the same size you're still looking at a large difference. 
What a difference in sodium! Especially when you consider the types of foods you usually eat tortillas with (cheese, sour cream, fried meats, seasoned rice) are already high in sodium. Corn tortillas earn an extra A+ because they are gluten free, kosher and vegetarian. 

So now that we've decided to use corn tortillas what else can we do to make a healthier, but still tasty quesadilla? Choosing a vegetarian protein source will always lower the saturated fat content of your meal and you can expand your culinary horizons by trying new ingredients like tempeh. 

I personally love tempeh because it has a nice firm texture and is loaded with protein. Tempeh is also slightly fermented so it provides some probiotic benefits. If you need a refresher on probiotics check out my post from a few months ago. 

You can cook tempeh like any meat by heating a little oil in a pan and sauteing with your spices of choice. I used an all purpose seasoning blend, but if you're feeling more adventurous have at it! Another benefit of tempeh is you don't have to wait until it's "done" like you would with beef, pork or chicken. I cook mine until heated through and slightly browned on all sides, which usually takes 10 minutes. 

Corn tortilla
Healthy vegetarian protein

Next comes the vegetable choice. If you recall I first tried baby kale a few days ago and as predicted I am plaster posters on my bedroom wall, cry and scream in the presence of, writing love songs obsessed with it. It is unbelievably tasty with a nice peppery bite that reminds me of broccoli. I ate it 100% raw for lunch today which attracted some odd stares from my co-workers. 

So I eat like a rabbit sometimes. No biggie.

Baby kale works perfectly in these quesadillas because if we're using baby tortillas, why not use baby vegetables? If you're not of the kale persuasion spinach, peppers/onions or mushrooms would work as well. 
Now don't worry I'm going to let us have a little fun when it comes to the cheese. I am 100% against fat free cheese and I don't think anyone on earth should eat it. It does not melt which scares me. Stick with reduced fat cheeses or my personal favorite is buying extra flavorful cheeses and using smaller amounts. 

Like extra sharp cheddar for instance. You only need a little of this stuff to get a punch of flavor. Another favorite is pepper jack if you're feeling spicy. 

So we have all our ingredients so all we need is our OXO Flip and Fold Omelet Turner and we're good to go! With the calories we saved by choosing corn tortillas, tempeh and baby kale we can have two quesadillas for under 350 calories and 15 g of fat!

Who says you can't eat healthy and tasty at the same time. They need to rewrite the song..."healthy and tasty living in perfect harmony"   

Right...anyways. You know you want to make these quesadillas tonight for dinner. And if you need some extra encouragement you could eat 7 of these quesadillas for the same amount of calories as one Chipotle burrito AND you'd still save 1,800 mg of sodium and 5 g of fat. 

Perfect harmony indeed. 

Baby Kale and Tempeh Quesadillas 
HTIC Original 

2 oz. diced tempeh (about 1/4 cup) 
1 t. olive oil 
1/8-1/4 t. all purpose seasoning 
1/2 cup raw baby kale 
1 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
2 corn tortillas 
Cooking spray  
1 T. salsa for serving (optional)

1. In a small skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add tempeh and seasonings and cook until tempeh has browned on all sides, or approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 
2. Coat the small skillet with cooking spray and return to medium heat. Lightly spray one tortilla with cooking spray and set in pan. Cover the tortillas with half of the cheese. 
3. On one half of the tortilla place half the baby kale and tempeh. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until cheese has started to melt and the tortilla is puffed or blistered on the edges. Fold over the side of the tortilla without toppings over the side with toppings. Press the quesadilla with your OXO turner or spatula so cheese will melt the two sides together. 
4. Cook for 2-3 minutes more and remove from heat. Place finished quesadilla in the oven set on warm. Repeat steps 2-4 to cook an additional quesadilla. 
5. Serve quesadillas with salsa if desired and enjoy! 

What I'm Listening to Today 
Like the Dawn: The Oh Hello's-->love love love this song.
Dead Man's Hand: Ha Ha Tonka 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spicy Chik'n Omelet

Sometimes it's really cool to be a food blogger.

Not only do you get to cook all the time and take pretty pictures, but sometimes a company is super generous and sends a few products your way. One such company is OXO and boy do they show food bloggers some love.

Thank you OXO and for your efforts I reward you with tasty omelets.

Because that's the preferred form of payment right? Not cash, not gum, but omelets.

I make omelets all the time because eggs are a poor vegetarian's best friend. Plus I happen to make a pretty mean omelet. Now they're even fiercer with Oxo's Flip and Fold Omelet Turner. I swear this tool was made specifically for me, and is quickly becoming something I'll wonder how I ever did without.

Not only does this tool fold over omelets perfectly, it also gets your omelet out of the pan in no time flat. No more awkward tilt and shake with the frying pan only to have your omelet flop off your plate and on to the floor (believe me this has happened). One easy motion and BOOM you're done.

Usually when I fix an omelet I keep it simple and use spinach and whatever cheese I have on hand. Tonight for dinner I was feeling extra zesty (and ravenous) so I decided to make a spicy chik'n omelet with a chopped spiced chik'n patty, pepper jack cheese, baby kale and salsa.

I have an unhealthy attachment to kale and baby kale I can tell is going to turn into an all out Fatal Attraction obsession. It has a milder flavor than regular kale and is much more tender. Perfect for putting in omelets for an extra nutritious bite.

If you're of the meat persuasion you could use a crispy chicken patty, grilled chicken tossed in hot sauce or some spicy shredded beef or pork in place of the chik'n patty. I know putting chicken into an omelet may seem a little strange but I promise it works. Why should bacon and ham have all the fun? Chicken can sit at the breakfast table too!

I'd love to hear your omelet suggestions so I can get more use out of my Omelet Turner. In the meantime I think I'll use it to flip some of my other favorite recipes like Chunky Monkey Pancakes, Balsamic Roasted Strawberry and Arugula Grilled Cheese or Vindaloo Sweet Potato Burgers with Fig Butter.

Hmmm...looks like I'll have some leftovers. Anyone interested?

Spicy Chik'n Omelet 
HTIC Original

2 eggs, whisked
1 spicy chik'n patty (or other "meat" option), cooked and chopped
1 slice pepper jack cheese (or cheddar, jack, colby)
1/2 cup baby kale (or spinach)
2 T. salsa

1. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray.
2. Pour eggs into skillet and rotate skillet so egg coats the entire bottom of the pan. Allow egg to cook for 1-2 minutes or until edges start to set.
3. Add chopped chik'n, baby kale and cheese to one half of the omelet. Cook for 1 minute until top surface of omelet has mostly set.
4. Fold over the other side of the omelet, so it covers the side with the fillings. Remove pan from heat and cover with lid. Allow to steam for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.
5. Remove omelet from pan and top with salsa. Kick your feet up and enjoy!

*I received these products through OXO's Blogger Outreach Program. For more information, click here.

What I'm Listening to Today
Beyond This Moment: Patrick O'Hearn
Hello My Old Heart: The Oh Hello's-->they are one of my favorite new bands
Brothers: Penny and Sparrow

Thursday, April 4, 2013

College Kid Soup

College is a really exciting time in a person's life. Often it's the first time someone has lived on their own. They have no curfew to follow or really any other rules for that matter. They are exposed to a whole new group of people they wouldn't have met otherwise. And they are busy studying what will become their future.

But like many things in life the good does come with the bad. Because while college really is great, there is no denying one simple fact.

College kids are dirt poor. Like work three part time jobs and still barely have enough money for food poor. Buying good nutritious food isn't a top priority, because who can afford it anyways? Pizza, Chipotle, McDonald's...they are all more affordable, right?

Well I'm here to give you some education. A life lesson to college kids and adults alike.

Never will you save money eating out every day.

Sure the Dollar Menu seems like a great option but you're paying a dollar per serving (which isn't really that impressive) and you get no leftovers. Wouldn't it be easier if you could just grab your lunch out of the fridge on your way out the door instead of having to stop at a restaurant?

Insert soup. Basically the easiest thing on the planet to make and probably the cheapest. All you need is a simple formula and the different combinations are endless. If you're living in a dorm you just need to find a kitchen.

A kitchen and $3. 

I make a variation of this soup every week and it for lunch every day. Because I too am a poor college kid. I'm not in school anymore, but when your internship pays you less than $2 an hour, you have to become resourceful.

The recipe is very basic:
You dump all this into a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is done. That's it.

And even better the recipe makes roughly 10 servings so each cup of soup costs about a $0.25. Suddenly that dollar snack wrap from McDonald's doesn't look so impressive now does it?

If you're feeling extravagant you can substitute beef or chicken for the beans or some fun grains for the rice like quinoa or farro. Also if frozen vegetables aren't your thing you can use any fresh vegetable you like.

For my soup this week I used this combination:
  • Black Beans 
  • Canned Tomatoes 
  • Frozen mixed vegetables 
  • Quinoa 
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts and jalapeno
  • Chili powder, cumin, minced garlic, cayenne, unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar
And it was delightful. I'd love to hear your soup combos that you've tried in the past.  Because goodness knows I'm not the only 20 something strapped for cash looking to eat on the cheap. Even if you're Bill Gates sometimes saving a dollar on the grocery bill isn't such a bad thing.

Plus let's not forget the money you'll save down the line on your medical bills if you eat soup every day instead of that McDouble. I know your health as a 65 year old isn't on your mind when you're in college. But maybe it should be.

Just something to think about while you slurp your soup.

College Kid Soup Suggestions
  • white beans, tomatoes, frozen spinach, rice, garlic and dried basil/oregano 
  • garbanzo beans, tomatoes, frozen green beans, penne and dried basil/oregano
  • lentils, tomatoes, frozen cauliflower, rice and curry powder 
  • kidney beans, tomatoes, frozen stirfry mix, rice and ginger powder 
  • black beans, tomatoes, frozen corn, rice and chili powder

What I'm Listening to Today
Fortunate Fool: The New Amsterdams
My Love Has Gone: Josh Rouse
Love the Lie: Jf Robitaille

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate Rugelach

We've all been there. Looked back at a moment and thought...

 "Seriously did I really do that?"

Sometimes it's a good thing like climbing a mountain or running a 10k without walking.

Other times it's a bad thing like eating half a pizza or slamming your fingers in your car door.

And then there are those stupid times. Like locking yourself out of your apartment not once but twice in the same week. Or for instance making plans to meet a friend for dinner without getting their phone number first.

I problem right? Just talk to them via Facebook. Friend doesn't have a smartphone.

Okay, well just wait in the parking lot until she shows up. Not sure what car friend drives.

Uh, maybe she's just running a little late. 30 minutes goes by...

Ah! Message on the phone from friend. "Are you still coming?"

Uh oh.

Insert the biggest fail of them all, definitely a face palm moment when you realize friend has been sitting in restaurant the whole time you were sitting in your car. Yes, you seriously did just do that.

If you're having one of those stupid moments, I have just the fix. Certainly a recipe you can file under the good "seriously did I just do that" category. It involves pastry dough blitzed with cream cheese, a hefty sprinkling of dark chocolate and butter. Did I mention the butter?

Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry which is fitting given Passover ends tomorrow. I don't have many Jewish friends, nor do I know much about their culture, but I do know one thing. Ever since Coffee Emporium started selling rugelachs I can't get enough of them.

Seriously I think I need to take out a loan to feed my habit. You think the bank will go for that?

While rugelach do take a little time to make they are actually quite simple if making pastry dough from scratch doesn't scare the pants of you. The dough is very easy to work with and anyone with two hands can roll rugelach like a champ.

I brought these to Easter dinner that included Neatloaf, vegetable cobbler, cheesy potato casserole, sweet potatoes, salad AND rolls. Aka complete carb attack.

Did I mention I also made chocolate peanut butter pudding parfaits and we all had seconds of everything.

I think we'll file that under the good, bad and stupid category. What do you think?

Chocolate Rugelach 
Adapted Slightly from Crepes of Wrath

2 cups of AP flour
2 sticks butter, cubed
1 t. salt
8 oz. cream cheese cubed
2 T. Greek Yogurt 
1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
3 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1 T. heavy cream
Coarse sugar for decorating

1. In a food processor combine flour and 2 sticks butter. Pulse a few times to coat butter with flour. Add salt, cream cheese and Greek yogurt.
2. Process until dough starts to form a ball. Turn dough out onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (you can cool it longer if you like).
3. In a small bowl combine dark chocolate and sugar. Set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Powder a flat work surface with flour. Unwrap chilled dough and roll out, making sure to keep the dough moving so it doesn't stick (can use wax paper on the bottom and top also to prevent sticking). Roll to pie crust thickness and cut extra dough off the edges to form a large circle.
6. Using a pastry brush, cover the entire dough surface with the melted butter. Sprinkle the chocolate and sugar mixture over top.
7. Using a pizza cutter, cut 12 slices out of the dough.
8. To roll your rugelach start at the wide end and simple roll to form a crescent shape. Grease a cookie sheet and place each rugelach seam side down.
9. Brush each rugelach with the egg and heavy cream mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
10. Bake rugelach for 17-22 minutes or until golden down on top. Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Try not to do too many stupid things today and enjoy!

What I'm Listening to Today
A Mile Away: J Minus
Your Scars: Charlemagne 
Sad Eyes: Josh Rouse